Friday 6 August 2010

1851 Cup: TEAMORIGIN Leads 4-1 After Day 2 of The 1851 Cup

TEAMORIGIN vs. BMW ORACLE Racing on Day 2 of The 1851 Cup. Image copyright Ian Roman/TEAMORIGIN.

by Leslie Greenhalgh

Despite a 180 degree wind shift prior to proceedings getting underway at the 1851 Cup today, causing the race committee to move the course just to the east of Cowes, fans were treated to one of the most spectacular displays of match racing with protests galore and a large chunk of each team’s play books being enacted, in winds that built to over 20 knots.

In race one TEAMORIGIN held the favoured starboard entry and the key moment came when mid pre-start the British team afterguard made the call to go for the left side.

As British skipper and helmsman Ben Ainslie explained; “We quite liked the right, but then Bart [Andrew Simpson], Mark [Mendelblatt] and Iain [Percy] saw some breeze coming down the left, so we switched just as we were coming back about 2 minutes 30 before the start. It was a crucial call because we could have gone for either side.”

TEAMORIGIN extended through being on the left of the first beat to round the top mark 46 seconds ahead and from there James Spithill and his crew on BMW ORACLE RACING were unable to get back into the race. 3-0 to TEAMORIGIN.

The second race of the day Ben Ainslie described as being one of the most exciting in his whole sailing career. “It had everything. I guess the reason why it is so close is that the courses are relatively small and there are two really good teams who are fighting really hard and handling their boats really well.”

BMW ORACLE RACING appeared to get the upper hand in the pre-start shovelling TEAMORIGIN across to the wrong side of the start line, but the British team managed to recover successful to start just ahead.

“Jimmy [Spithill] took the decision to try and get the penalty,” said BMW ORACLE Racing navigator Ian Moore. “It would have been fantastic, but when they green flagged it, it gave them the chance to get back into the start. They were going to have an awful start but they did a very nice turn up and they must have been spot on the line. We were in a pretty strong position, but it didn’t feel that way after the start.”

TEAMORIGIN on Day 2 of The 1851 Cup. Image copyright Ian Roman/TEAMORIGIN.

TEAMORIGIN strategist Andrew Simpson felt they had been fortunate to get back into the race following that pre-start: “Ben did a great job of getting us out of a very difficult position. We were very happy to be in the race at that point rather than outside of the starting box. All the boys did a good job of wrestling us back into the race.”

On the first beat the advantage line swung back and forth between the boats and at the top mark with both boats on port and heading for the starboard layline, TEAMORIGIN to weather was close enough to BMW ORACLE Racing to prevent them from tacking for the mark. The British team led around the mark with their opponents on their transom.

Down the run, BMW ORACLE Racing successfully performed a dummy gybe, which TEAMORIGIN responded to and ended up sailing into a small hole in the breeze, giving the American team the opportunity to move ahead. But not enough. The British team were overlapped approaching the leeward gate and were able to claim the inside berth on the rounding.

“On the second beat we were a bit luckier with the current on the right hand side and got lifted up to the guys and the boys trimming made it easier for us to get back into the race,” described Andrew Simpson.

There was more engagement on the second approach to the weather mark with TEAMORIGIN this time on the right and BMW ORACLE Racing having pulled ahead on the left, but again not by enough.

“There was no way of crossing them,” described BMW ORACLE Racing navigator Ian Moore. “If we could get behind them and shoot to the mark it was a big advantage to us. We did start the dial down nice and early, but we weren’t able to complete that manoeuvre exactly as we wanted to. There was a chance that we could have still rolled them there, but ultimately it was a tricky situation as the port boat.”

TEAMORIGIN led around the top mark. Despite Spithill keeping it close on the run Ben Ainslie and his crew managed to hang on to the lead, British fans breathing a sigh of relief as TEAMORIGIN crossed the finish line just five seconds ahead.

Unfortunate in today’s third race, TEAMORIGIN were doing well in the pre-start when a pin within the tripping mechanism for the main halyard lock came undone causing the mainsail to fall down. The British team were unable to fix the problem and they were forced to concede the race.

So going into the final day of windward-leeward racing on Friday TEAMORIGIN are a promising 4-1 ahead but with races on the final day counting for triple points the competition remains wide open. As Ian Moore warns: “In match racing the momentum can turn and it can start to go all your way.”

Tomorrow starting at 11:30 BST is the race around the Isle of Wight, re-enacting the course sailed in 1851 for the first running of what has become known as the America’s Cup.

“It is going to be very interesting to sail these boats at sea,” commented Ben Ainslie. “They are not really designed for it, so we might have to be backing off a little bit to make sure we don’t break the boats. Strategically it is going to be quite tough with the tides and what the wind is doing, but it will be great to re-enact the race where it all started in 1851.”

One forecast presently has the second section of the race around the Isle of Wight being upwind and against the tide in 20 knots of wind. As Ian Moore predicts – it could be a 16 mile tacking duel.

The 1851 Cup

1851 Cup: BMW ORACLE Racing Scores First Point at 1851 Cup

BMW ORACLE Racing at the 1851 Cup. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

by Tim Jeffery

Racing in late day sunshine and a puffy northerly wind, America's Cup winner BMW ORACLE Racing got on the scoreboard today in The 1851 Cup versus TEAMORIGIN of the UK.

In Race 5 TEAMORIGIN suffered a breakdown when the mainsail halyard lock failed with one minute remaining in the pre-start. TEAMORIGIN attempted a repair, but couldn't start within the prescribed time period and the race was awarded to BMW ORACLE Racing.

"It's too bad we couldn't race some more," said Dirk de Ridder, BMW ORACLE Racing mainsail trimmer. "We had 16 knots of wind. These boats are great in those conditions."

Prior to the mishap TEAMORIGIN stretched its winning streak to four races.

The British crew won Race 3 by taking the left side of the race course off the start line. TEAMORIGIN won the first cross and controlled the match from there.

Race 4 proved to be the best match of the series that runs through Friday. BMW ORACLE Racing and TEAMORIGIN were locked in a tacking duel up the first leg, but the British crew held a slim lead at the first mark when it got a controlling position to windward on port tack.

BMW ORACLE Racing and TEAMORIGIN beating on the Solent in racing on Day 2 of The 1851 Cup. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

BMW ORACLE racing got the lead on the first downwind leg by duping TEAMORIGIN into a gybe. BMW ORACLE Racing led into the leeward gate, where the key moment in the race occurred.

BMW ORACLE Racing was ahead on the water, but TEAMORIGIN was overlapped approaching the right-hand mark (looking downwind). BMW ORACLE Racing had to give room for TEAMORIGIN to make a proper rounding, but that gave the British the right side of the race course for the second lap. The team regained the lead at the top of the leg, which it maintained to the finish for a 5 second win.

"It was a slight overlap, but thay had it," said Ian Moore, the BMW ORACLE Racing navigator who lives on the Isle of Wight. "Up the right side they had more breeze than tide."

Racing in The 1851 Cup continues tomorrow with a reenactment of the race around the Isle of Wight that gave rise to the legend of the America's Cup. The schooner America won a similar race in 1851 against a fleet of British yachts to win the trophy that now bears its name.

The 1851 Cup

Thursday 5 August 2010

Extreme 40s: Fast and Furious as Paul Campbell-James Clings to Top Spot

Red Bull dashes off ahead of the fleet. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

by Emily Caroe

On the penultimate day of the Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week, the pace was fast and furious. After a light wind first afternoon race in 8 knots, the wind accelerated to 15-18 knots and the Extreme 40s were off – power reaching at speeds of 20-25 knots. It was fast, it was wet and hugely physical for the crews as they pushed hard, playing a balancing act on a high wire. It was potential capsize conditions - the windward hulls flying insanely, leeward bows digging into the waves – misjudge the situation and it would be game over. The fifth man guests were having the ride of their lives and the spectators were loving it...

After the morning’s offshore race – won by Groupe Edmond de Rothschild – the predicted cold front swept through The Solent, unleashing a couple of downpours on the crowds – before the clouds broke and the sun reappeared along with a brisk northerly breeze. It was perfect racing conditions and the stage was set for some of the most exhilarating racing the Cowes crowd had seen this week. Six of the 8 boats including Veolia Environnement, Groupama and Team GAC Pindar claimed a race win this afternoon – their first of the regatta - along with Roman Hagara’s Red Bull Extreme Sailing.

Going into the penultimate day, only a handful of points separated the top three boats on the leaderboard… Young gun, Paul Campbell-James and his crew onboard The Wave, Muscat, shot out of the starting blocks to claim the first race – were they going to completely steam roller the afternoon? Not quite, Nick Moloney’s Team GAC Pindar boys claimed the next victory to the enthusiastic support of their corporate guests on the VIP balcony. Then ‘CJ’ came back with another two bullets – they seemed to be on a roll but in the last three races of the day, only managing a 5th, 6th and a 4th. But, once again, they had done enough to stay at the top of the overall leaderboard with 208 points extending their lead over Britain’s Mike Golding by 18 points. “We had a great morning race and a solid day and our competitors had shockers! So we are really pleased and have a good lead. It puts us in a strong position for tomorrow.”

Today was about timing the starts right - arriving bang on the line at full pelt - as Golding explained: “It was all about the starts and we found a good place to be in and it was going well, but we had other boats piling in and I hate seeing collisions. We had a little bump at the bottom mark and I don’t like to see that. Generally, we are clinging on to that podium position, I know we are close and we have to have a good day tomorrow.”

ECOVER flies off. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

Groupe Edmond de Rothschild has come within 5 points of Ecover Sailing Team – a penalty in race 26, relegated them to 8th but the team managed to finish in the top half of the fleet in most races to hold their third place overall.

Loick Peyron had a day he and the Oman Sail Masirah crew would probably rather forget. They were fighting but getting nowhere and in the penultimate race a collision with one of The Solent marks put a crack in the hull. They rapidly headed for the dock but a bit of gaffer tape application had them back out racing for the final race of the day – a good effort but to no avail, finishing 4th overall on 166 points.

Extreme 40s against the light. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

With Mitch Booth, skipper of The Ocean Racing Club, forced to retire from the UK round after breaking his front beam yesterday, there will be eight Extreme 40s on the startline tomorrow afternoon.

The teams have raced 31 races so far in this UK round and tomorrow is the final day of the Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week – the racing off Egypt Point is scheduled to start at 5.00pm and the final race of the event is a double pointer. No doubt it will go to the wire...

Groupama 40, The Wave, Muscat and Red Bull. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

Results after Day 5

1. The Wave, Muscat 208pts
2. ECOVER 190pts
3. Gitana 185pts
4. Red Bull 169pts
5. Groupama 40 168pts
6. Oman Sail's Masirah 166pts
7. Team GAC Pindar 143pts
8. The Ocean Racing Club 79pts
9. Veolia Environnement 67pts

Extreme Sailing Series Europe

Extreme 40s: ECOVER Dominates on Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series

Team GAC Pindar goes flying on Day 4 off Cowes. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

by Emily Caroe

Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series and Mike Golding, fresh from his win earlier in the day in the Artemis Challenge race round the Isle of Wight, continued his winning form, marking his stamp on the podium with three first places and putting Paul Campbell-James’ top spot in jeopardy.

The wind Gods played their part in the afternoon’s racing, delivering gusts of up to 24 knots, enforcing a mandatory reef across the fleet and fifth men just for the first race. With the Cowes Week fleet finishes and the 1851 Cup as a backdrop, the Extreme 40s took centre stage for four races this afternoon, but without The Ocean Racing Club who broke their front beam in morning training.

Video of racing on Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series in Cowes:

Double Olympian, Leigh McMillan, helming for Mike Golding’s Ecover Sailing Team was buzzing when he came ashore to meet the crowds who have lined the shorefront all day, “Awesome! All the boys on the boat were just hammering the manouevres all the way round, the first windward mark on the first race we had a bit of an issue with a rope around the rig, but we dealt with it really well and managed to hold onto a top three in that race and from then on everything was just super slick, Mike and all the boys were just excellent.

“Yesterday we got bounced off every wall, we were backwards forwards, left, right and center. Today was the opposite but that’s just the nature of the sport. We got off to a good start in the day and then just relaxed into it,” he concluded.

Waves for the Extreme Sailing Series off Cowes. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

Despite a promising start for Oman Sail Masirah, winning the first race, they couldn’t keep hold of a consistent form, posting a 2nd, a 3rd and despite a good start in the final race, finished in a disastrous sixth, losing their second overall placing and allowing Groupe Edmond de Rothschild to creep up, just two points behind.

The Wave, Muscat now has just a four point buffer at the top of the leaderboard, with 150 points and Ecover Sailing Team in second with 146. Loick Peyron lies in third with 141 point with Oman Sail Masirah and fellow Frenchman Yann Guichard, fighting hard for a podium position just two points behind, with 139.

Groupama 40. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

Australian Nick Moloney, skipper of Team GAC Pindar entertained the crowds before racing began this afternoon with three races against a fleet of four windsurfers. Nick, the only person to windsurf across the Bass Strait, challenged 13 times British national windsurf champion Guy Cribb to a straight line speed race joined by World Tour professional windsurfers, John Skye and Isle of Wight hero Ross Williams.

“That was awesome – we were flying, but they were too – they beat us 2-1, but I reckon we should have a rematch,” he joked. “We were both doing in excess of 20 knots of boat speed and I was surprised how evenly we were matched at such high speed.”

Joining the Extreme Sailing Series this afternoon was Formula 1 supremo Eddie Jordan, “I have seen how quick they are and it’s fantastic. What gets you is the excitement. So many people coming here and watching pure sailing as spectators. It’s absolutely amazing. When I was much younger, fitter and energetic, I had a Hobie Cat so to have a 40 foot version is perfect. It’s obscene how quick they are, but definitely a young persons’ sport!

Roland Jourdain's Veolia Environnement. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

“The analogy or similarity with F1 is very obvious to see. The boats travel at huge speeds, very close to one another, no escape lanes anywhere on this course, it is absolutely fantastic, wheel to wheel or actually sail to sail. It’s exciting; trying to catch up on inside and outside just like F1! It’s the most exciting thing I have seen in a long time.”

After a rest morning today, the Extreme 40 fleet will return tomorrow, Wednesday 4 August at 10am for an offshore race from The Royal Yacht Squadron to Calshot, and then be back on the short course start line at Egypt Point at 5pm.

Extreme Sailing Series Europe

Extreme 40s: Extreme Team GAC Pindar take on Windsurfers in Cowes

Team GAC Pindar vs. a windsurfer. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

by Kate Brewer

The action continued on day four of the Extreme Sailing Series in Cowes, with gusts of up to 24 knots leading to more spectacular, yet taxing racing for the fleet.

Before the racing, as part of the afternoon entertainment, Team GAC Pindar’s skipper and windsurfing fanatic, Nick Moloney, challenged a fleet of windsurfers to race against the team’s high speed Extreme 40 catamaran.

Moloney challenged 13-time British National Windsurf Champion, Guy Cribb, to three straight line speed races and was joined by fellow World Tour professionals, John Skye and Isle of Wight windsurfer, Ross Williams.

All round yachtsman, Moloney, who boasts a rich and successful sailing career, including 2 America’s Cup campaigns and 12 individual World Sailing Speed Records also holds the Guinness World Record for the first and only person to windsurf non-stop across the Bass Strait. In 1998 he sailed un-assisted from mainland Australia to the Island State Tasmania in a time of 22 hours 11 minutes.

Speaking after yesterday’s challenge, Moloney commented, “That was awesome – we were flying, but they were too and beat us 2-1. Considering we were doing in excess of 20 knots of boat speed, I was surprised how evenly we were matched at such high speed.”

Also enjoying the Extreme Cowes Week action yesterday, was Formula 1’s Eddie Jordan. Speaking from the event he said, ‘The analogy or similarity with F1 is very obvious to see. The boats travel at huge speeds, very close to one another, no escape lanes anywhere on this course, it is absolutely fantastic, wheel to wheel or actually sail to sail. It’s exciting trying to catch up on inside and outside just like F1! It’s the most exciting thing I have seen in a long time.’

With no morning race on day four, the afternoon racing got underway at the later time of 17.00 from Egypt Point. Strong gusts against the tidal current enforced a mandatory reef across the fleet and the ‘5th men’ limited to the first race only.

Mike Golding’s Ecover dominated the day, winning three out of four races to close the gap on Paul Campbell-James on board The Wave, Muscat, who leads by just four points, on 150 points.

Team GAC Pindar finished 3rd in the final race of the day and remain in 7th place overall on 99 points.

Team GAC Pindar
Extreme Sailing Series Europe

Extreme 40s: ECOVER Relish Conditions as they Dominate on Day Four

ECOVER relishing the conditions on Day 4 of the Extreme Sailing Series Europe in Cowes. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.

by Lucy Harwood

Ecover came out fighting today scoring three bullets to take day four of the Extreme Sailing Series in Cowes, after posting a third in race one, the crew just relished the plus 20 knot conditions to dominate the fleet and post their best performance on the circuit to date. Conditions ramped up to over 20 knots this afternoon, and the race committee made the call for the fleet to reef the mainsails and that the crew had to wear life jackets. The breeze also meant that fifth men were prevented from racing at the start of the day.

No morning race today has given the crew a respite from the intense schedule so far this week. Cowes is the longest of the Extreme 40 events this year, at any other event this season the regatta would have culminated yesterday, so the crews are working hard to stay consistent and stay in contention.

Local boy and Ecover helm Leigh McMillan commented after racing,
“Awesome day, all the boys on the boat were just hammering the manouvres all the way round, at the first windward mark on the first race we had a bit of an issue with a rope around the rig. But we dealt with it really well and managed to hold onto a top three place in that race, and from then everything was just super slick, Mike and all the boys were just excellent”.

“Today was the opposite of yesterday, yesterday we got bounced off every wall, we were backwards forwards, left, right and center. Today was the opposite but that’s just the nature of the sport. We got off to a good start in the day and then just relaxed into it, other than that you just take the opportunities and try and keep everything cool on the boat, keep the communications really clear and its all good. Today, was really windy but it was quite nice to have the reefs in it meant we weren’t right on the edge as we were two days ago. Everything just seem to click into place. We had a good day on that occasion and today we seem to be going well in the breeze again. We absolutely nailed the starts, which paid dividends, we rounded each mark in first place, we just kept it really tight and had an awesome day. It’s really nice to see the results and its great for all the boys on the boat to se the rewards for all the hard work they do”.

Standings after Day 4
1. The Wave, Muscat 150 pts
2. Ecover 146 pts
3. Oman Sail Masirah 141 pts
4. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 139 pts
5. Red Bull Extreme Sailing 122 pts
6. Groupama 119 pts
7. Team GAC Pindar 99 pts
8. The Ocean Racing Club 79 pts
9. Veolia Environnement 30 pt

ECOVER Sailing Team
Extreme Sailing Series Europe

1851 Cup: Strong Start for TEAMORIGIN

TEAMORIGIN ahead of BMW ORACLE Racing downwind. Image copyright Ian Roman/TEAMORIGIN.

by Leslie Greenhalgh

Under dramatic skies and with the wind at the upper end of the range permissible for sailing, so the 1851 Cup got off to a fine start. With two races held today, quadruple Olympic medallist Ben Ainslie and his crew on TEAMORIGIN ended 2-0 up over the America’s Cup champions BMW ORACLE Racing, led by Australian James Spithill.

After a delay waiting for Cowes Week fleets to finish, so racing got underway at 16:10 BST with the start box located to the west of the Bramble bank and the weather mark off to the southwest between Gurnard and Egypt Point on the Isle of Wight.

For the first race TEAMORIGIN had the favoured starboard entry. After a relatively conventional dial-up start, the boats crossed the line evenly on starboard, with the British team by the committee boat and BMW ORACLE Racing down towards the pin.

James Spithill and the crew on the American yacht made the best of the first beat to lead around the top mark by two boat lengths. On the run Ainslie and his crew kept it close and the defining moment of this race came at the leeward gate when BMW ORACLE Racing chose to round the starboard mark (looking downwind) while TEAMORIGIN rounded the opposite mark.

As BMW ORACLE RACING tactician, John Kostecki explained: “Going into the bottom gate we liked the right gate looking downwind, but in fact it was a lot more even than it looked. We got that wrong. The left gate ended up being favoured and there was a 10 degree wind shift as well - and they instantly had the jump on us. It was our fault for choosing that.”

TEAMORIGIN on the wind. Image copyright Ian Roman/TEAMORIGIN.

By the second weather mark rounding it was TEAMORIGIN who led around with a four boat length advantage which they maintained to the finish where they arrived 7 seconds ahead.

In the second race it was game over for the American team far sooner. After holding a small advantage going for the start line, BMW ORACLE Racing was deemed over early and after taking a while to return and start correctly they set out up the first beat with a deficit of more than 300m on TEAMORIGIN. In fact with the wind building into the early 20s, gusting up to 25 knots and with tide going on to the ebb (against the wind) the race officials chose to shorten course at the leeward gate and send the boats home to Cowes. This confirmed the win for TEAMORIGIN and a 2-0 lead at the end of Day One of the 1851 Cup regatta.

Ben Ainslie talked through the start of this race: “We had about 22 knots and both boats ended up dialled up. James [Spithill] did a nice job with the fake dial [up] and came back round at us and we ended up back head to wind. We ended up going backwards at about 3-4 knots and both teams did a good job handling that. There was a reasonable starboard end bias, and both teams were fighting for it quite hard.
We pushed at the end and had room to get in between James and the start boat and they were trying to squeeze up and make life hard for us, but it got them to the line a bit too early. It is really hard judging the current out there. We are not exactly used to it with these boats.”

His tactician Iain Percy reckoned that BMW ORACLE Racing was as much as 5-10 seconds early and with the tide pushing them towards the line, this was accentuated further.

In the lively conditions, exaggerated by the sea state being further whipped up by the large and enthusiastic spectator fleet, so both boats suffered gear failure. BMW ORACLE Racing broken battens in their mainsail and then had issues with their headboard in race two, while on the TEAMORIGIN boat their pit winch broke down, forcing them to make a conventional (rather than a faster string line) spinnaker drop at the leeward mark in race one. “The guys did a really good job to recover from that. It was definitely a team work day today,” said skipper Ben Ainslie.

Racing on the busy Solent in the middle of Cowes Week and a shipping channel passing through the middle of the race course brought some fresh challenges compared to what these crews are typically used to. As BMW ORACLE Racing’s Murray Jones noted: “I quite enjoyed it out there today. It adds a dimension to the racing we are used to and all the different classes of yachts in the Solent during Cowes Week and ships, makes it interesting. You have to stay awake. It is a great change.”

TEAMORIGIN win race one. Image copyright Ian Roman/TEAMORIGIN.

Iain Percy, TEAMORIGIN tactician agreed: “One of the challenges is that you keep on thinking about the racing and not about ships and all the rest of it, especially on a day like today. Those boats have a lot of distractions anyway in 25 knots, everyone is full-on boat handling. We have to steal five seconds every now and then to think about what is going on.”

Tomorrow three further windward-leewards are scheduled starting no earlier than 15:30 BST. Conditions are forecast to be equally as boisterous as they were today with the passage of a cold front expected to pass over Cowes early afternoon.

The 1851 Cup

1851 Cup: Strong Winds Open 1851 Cup on Solent

BMW ORACLE Racing lead on the first downwind of race one. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

by Tim Jeffery

BMW ORACLE Racing dropped two heats today to TEAMORIGIN on the first day of The 1851 Cup, a one-off match racing regatta between the teams in BMW ORACLE Racing's two V5 America's Cup Class sloops.

In Race 1 BMW ORACLE Racing skipper Jimmy Spithill of Australia took the right side of the racecourse and won a tacking duel up the first leg to lead at the first windward mark after a leg of 1.2 nautical miles.

Pre-start circling. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

The two crews went through the leeward gate together, each taking opposite sides, and up the second windward leg TEAMORIGIN opened up a lead on the right hand side.

"In the first race we had an advantage off the start line, but probably shose the wrong leeward gate to round," said tactician John Kostecki. "Up the second beat they got a little shift to the right, but fault on us. We have to get it right next time."

TEAMORIGIN racing with Jaguar on the wind. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

In the second race TEAMORIGIN got an early lead when BMW ORACLE Racing jumped the start early and lost valuable time restarting.

The BMW ORACLE crew was tight on TEAMORIGIN's lee bow trying to force them over the start line realy, but instead the westerly flowing tide swept BMW ORACLE over the line early and handed the British a sizeable advantage.

TEAMORIGIN chase BMW ORACLE Racing hard downwind. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

The race was shortened at the leeward gate with the wind blowing 22 knots and gusting higher.

"We would've preferred another lap," said Murray Jones, the team's strategist. "We were a long way behind do in that situation you're hoping for a handling error or a breakdown on your opponent. But I enjoyed today."

The 1851 Cup

1851 Cup: BMW ORACLE Racing Crew List

One of the Royal Yacht Squadron's (host club for the original race in 1851) cannons used for starting and finishing races. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

by Tim Jeffery


James Spithill Skipper and Helmsman AUS
John Kostecki Tactician USA
Rodney Daniel Runners/strategist AUS
Ian Moore Navigator GBR
Murray Jones Traveller NZL
Dirk de Ridder Mainsail trimmer NED
Simeon Tienpont Aft grinder NED
Joe Spooner Mainsail grinder NZL
Gilberto Nobili Aft grinder ITA
Joe Newton Downwind trimmer AUS
Ross Halcrow Trimmer NZL
Jonathan MacBeth Starboard grinder NZL
Brian MacInnes Port grinder CAN
Matthew Mason Pit NZL
Shannon Falcone Mast ANT
Brad Webb Mid bow NZL
Piet van Nieuwenhuyzen Bow NED


1851 Cup: TEAMORIGIN Crew List

TEAMORIGIN training on the Solent. Image copyright Ian Roman/TEAMORIGIN.

by Leslie Greenhalgh

TEAMORIGIN, the British America’s Cup team, has announced their team for the 1851 Cup taking place during the Cowes Week Regatta. Included in the team are three time Olympic Gold sailor Ben Ainslie, two time Olympic Gold sailor Iain Percy and Gold medalist Andrew Simpson.

The 1851 Cup sees TEAMORIGIN challenge the current America’s Cup holders, BMW Oracle, during a series of match races in the Solent. On Thursday 5th August, the teams will race clock-wise around the Isle of White following the original course of the America’s Cup in 1851.

Ben Ainslie Skipper & Helmsman
Iain Percy Tactician
Andrew Simpson Strategist
Juan Vila Navigator
Mark Mendelblatt Upwind Traveller
Anthony Nossiter Runner/Pit Assist
David Carr Runner/Aft Grind
Warwick Fleury Mainsail Trim
Chris Brittle Forward Grind
Will McCarthy Main Grind
Mark McTeague Forward Grind
Christian Kamp Trim Down
Simon Daubney Trim Up
Rodney Ardern Pit
Julien Cressant Mast
Matt Cornwell Mid Bow
Matthew Mitchell Bow


Extreme 40s: Video of Day 3 of Racing off Cowes

Extreme Sailing Series Europe

Wednesday 4 August 2010

1851 Cup: BMW ORACLE Racing Squares off Against TEAMORIGIN in 1851 Cup

Ben Ainslie (left) and Jimmy Spithill (right) shake hands in front of the Royal Thames Challenge Cup, donated by Garrard for the 1851 Cup event. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

by Tim Jeffery

Two of sailing's youngest, most talented skippers - Jimmy Spithill and Ben Ainslie - square off this week in The 1851 Cup, a one-off match racing regatta between America's Cup winner BMW ORACLE Racing and TEAMORIGIN of the UK.

While the two teams race each other on the Solent, the public will have an opportunity to view the America's Cup. The trophy will be on display daily beginning at 10:00am until early evening.

Australian Jimmy Spithill, aged 30 last February, became the youngest skipper to win the "auld Mug" when he led BMW ORACLE Racing to victory in the 33rd America's Cup Match.

Now 31, Spithill also has won the Melges 24 World Championship and Match Racing World Championship, both in 2005. In honour of the success, he was selected the Australian Yachtsman of the Year (2005-06).

TeamOrigin's Ben Ainslie, 33, is a triple Olympic gold medallist and has been named ISAF World Sailor of the Year an equal number of times.

Both helmsmen are highly skilled and diverse. Spithill won the America's Cup aboard the 90-foot trimaran USA, which featured a towering wing mast 223 feet (68m) tall, and his world championships have come in fleet and match racing disciplines.

The two helmsmen were once teammates in the OneWorld America's Cup Challenge from 2003, but haven't raced each other much over the past few years.

Although the 1851 Cup is more of an international friendly than test match, it features two teams that could cross each other's paths frequently over the coming years.

"We're pretty similar," said Spithill. "He wants to win as much as I do, which is saying something. We're both very intense about our work. I certainly have hige respect for him."

BMW ORACLE Racing has lent one of its two V5 America's Cup Class slopps, USA 87, to TEAMORIGIN for the competition.

Joining Spithill aboard USA 98 are teammates Rodney Daniel (runners), Dirk de Ridder (mainsheet), Shannon Falcone (mast), Ross Halcrow (upwind trimmer), Murray Jones (traveller), John Kostecki (tactician), Jono MacBeth (grinder), Brian MacInnes (grinder), Matt Mason (pit), Ian Moore (navigator), Joe Newton (downwind trimmer), Gillo Nobili (grinder), Joe Spooner (grinder), Simeon Tienpont (grinder), Piet van Nieuwenhuyzen (bow) and Brad Webb (mid-bow).

Racing begins Tuesday afternoon with three races planned on the Solent. The first warning signal isn't expected before 3.30pm BST. The highlight of the regatta is Thursday's race around the Isle of Wight, retracing the famous 53-nautical-mile course of 1851 that created the legend that is the America's Cup.


Solitaire du Figaro: Second Leg - skippers leave sunny Spain for Brest

Figaro fleet start from Spain. Image copyright Courcoux-Marmara/Le Figaro.

by Carla Anselmi

The 45 sailors competing on the 41st edition of La Solitaire du Figaro got off today at 14:00 from the Spanish town of Gijon, under sunny skies with 8/9 knots of breeze from the North. Internationally renowned skipper Yann Elies on Generali Europe Assistance takes the lead.

On perfect time, under clear skies and with a good northerly breeze of around 7/8 knots the 45 boats strong fleet crossed the starting line, just two miles outside the harbour of Gijon, on the Atlantic Spanish coast. The Race Committee promptly hoisted the individual recall flag as five skippers were over the line: Sébastien Josse, Jeanne Gregoire, Erwan Tabarly, Jérémie Beyou and the Italian Pietro D'Alì.

13 minutes later, Yann Eliès (Generali Europ Assistance) was first around the Seamobile mark, with a good 15 lengths led on the second placed, Alexis Loison (All Mer Ineo Gdf Suez). They were followed by Laurent Gouezigoux (Trier c’est préserver) in third and Nicolas Jossier (Impulsion Entreprendre en Pays Granvillais) in fourth. Fifth was Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel).

In a spectacular display of coloured spinnakers the fleet then headed to the second gate, the Radio France mark. Portoguese Fracisco Lobato (ROFF/TEMPO TEAM) was the first non-French skipper to round the Radio France mark in 17th position overall. Young German/French female sailor Isabelle Joschke (Synergie) was 25th, Swiss Bernard Stamm (Cheminée Poujoulat) 26th, Briton Jonny Malbon (Artemis) 34th and Italian Pietro D'Alì (I.NOVA.3), who had to go back to re-cross the start line as he was reported over the line, is trailing in 40th.

Top ten at the Radio France mark
1. Yann Eliès (Generali Europ Asssistance)
2. Alexis Loison (All Mer Ineo Gdf Suez)
3. Laurent Gouezigoux (Trier c’est préserver)
4. Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel)
5. Nicolas Jossier (Impulsion Entreprendre en Pays Granvillais)
6. Eric Drouglazet (Luisina)
7. Laurent Pellecuer (
8. Yoann Richomme (DLBC) 1er bizuth
9. Frédéric Rivet (Vendée 1)
10. Fabien Delahaye (Port de Caen Ouistreham)

Fleet start off Gijon. Image copyright Courcoux-Marmara/Le Figaro.

The fleet now face their first night at sea, according to Sylvain Mondon from Météo-France overnight the 45 skippers will have to deal with two incoming fronts to cross the ridge in the Bay of Biscay. Sailing up to the first passage, the SN1 mark which is 235 from Gijon, the fleet will sail in 8/12 knots airs which will progressively shifting tot o W/NW. Tomorrow night the north-westerly breeze will be well established and pretty gusty, topping 20/25 knots and with a fairly strong swell.
To be noted that the length of Leg 2 has been recalculated by the Race Direction, the route to Brest is not 418 miles as previously announced but 385 miles.

Quotes from the sailors before the start:
Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air)
“We will be busy, no doubt: strategy, manoeuvring… a much more complicated route than you can expect to the first mark SN1. I rested perfectly in Gijon as we spent so much energy on the first leg. Being in the lead? I try not to hover to much about that, each leg is a new race, and this one is going to be tricky. There is a chance to pile huge disadvantages: do you remember last year when Jérémie Beyou made up for an hour on Yann Eliès (exactly 54 minutes, ed.note), between La Coruna andd Saint-Gilles-Croix de Vie? “

Romain Attanasio (Savéol)
«We’re expecting fast racing for the second leg, which is a bit of a homecoming for us. As usual leaving Spain is going to be tricky. Then we will be sailing at good speed heading for SN1, yet it’s later when we’ll have to go up along Brittany coast where you have to play your cards, choose well, deal with the fronts and especially with tides and currents. I’m still on a learning curve, and experience counts. I need to be careful of fatigue, because a clear mind is always needed to make a good strategy.”

Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat)
“My first leg was all right, I will try to go on like that.. this time we’re probably going to wear our foul weather gear, nothing serious though! We’re expecting some good breeze and some rain too, but that’s life… The strategy is to be in the pack and then take your best options up the coast of Brittany and adapt no matter what we’ll have.”

Erwan Tabarly (Nacarat)
“I’m glad we’ll have some stiffer breeze than forecasted, with some fronts, but I guess the first twenty miles could be the hardest ones. It’s never easy to leave Spain.”

Karine Fauconnier (Eric Bompard Cachemire)
“The race will not be decided at SN1, we will have some nice upwind sailing, tacking along the Brittany coast and some strategy to plan carefully the Sein and Goulet the Brest passages. You need to be mentally and physically at the top. What I’ve learned in the first leg is that it’s not over until it’s over, the last option is the most important one. As for me, I must deal better with exhaustion to remain clear minded to the finish”

Solitaire du Figaro

Extreme 40s: Onboard Video of Racing off Cowes on Day 2

Extreme Sailing Series Europe

Extreme 40s: Halfway Stage and Guichard Fights Back

Extreme 40s in action off Cowes. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

by Emily Caroe

The third day of the Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week saw less wind but no less action on the water as the nine teams competing in the UK round of the five-stop circuit battled for every point and every place on the race course. The sailors were pushing all the time with some very aggressive starting tactics resulting in a general recall in race 15, and some teams finding themselves on the wrong side of the start line when the gun fired, having to turn round and re-start again in two races. The umpires were dishing out the penalties like oranges at half-time.

The sea breeze literally kicked in 60 seconds before the start of the first inshore race today and the Extreme 40s sprang to life in the 8-10 knot breeze that increased rapidly to 12-14 knots and topping 18 for a couple of races. More than enough for these light catamarans to fly their hulls upwind and for the spray to soak the crew on the downwind legs at 20 knots (23mph) of boat speed keeping the spectators enthralled.

Not surprisingly, Yann Guichard and his men on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild excelled in the less frenetic conditions, after struggling in the stronger winds of the first two days, and have moved into third place on the leaderboard with 112 points just one point behind Loick Peyron’s Oman Sail Masirah. Peyron scored a win in the morning offshore race and posted two second places this afternoon but they lacked consistency, and this has put them dangerously within reach of Guichard.

Gitana. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

Paul Campbell-James has kept The Wave, Muscat at the top of the leaderboard on 127 points. They may not be nailing every race but finishing inside the top four in five of today’s seven races was enough: “We loved it today, we actually tried to tone it down a bit and step back slightly from all the action but you just can’t do it! We had a couple of really, really close ducks today… We ducked behind on port with the guys on Groupama on starboard and the front of our hull literally flew over the back of his boat and our centerboard missed his hull by about 20 centimeters!”

Britain’s Mike Golding was initially having another good day – scoring third place in the first two races. But then came a sixth place and although they were leading in the next race, a penalty on the first leg cost them four crucial places. Ecover have now dropped from second to fourth on the leaderboard sharing the same number of points as Groupe Edmond de Rothschild. However, Mike’s helmsman Leigh McMillan continues to impress and the team will be fighting back hard tomorrow.

Extreme 40 action off Cowes. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

Roman Hagara and the Red Bull Extreme Sailing team had a cracking day with three bullets and Hagara was clearly delighted when he chatted with the crowds afterwards. At the halfway stage of this UK round his team are back in the fight, just six points behind Ecover.

Franck Cammas’ shore team worked until 0500 this morning to ensure Groupama 40 was back racing after their crash yesterday that caused extensive damage to their daggerboards and rudders. Franck and his crew repaid their hard work with a couple of second places today. The team has also been rewarded redress after yesterday’s incident (a total of 10 points) and Groupama 40 now have 97 points which puts them in sixth place on the leaderboard, 15 points ahead of Team GAC Pindar. Mitch Booth had a frustrating day, not really reaping the rewards of some very aggressive tactics and then suffering a broken furling system which meant they had to sit out race 17.

Roland Jourdain’s Veolia Environnement struggled with their gennaker handling at times which cost them dearly, but they are starting to find their feet amongst their more experienced Extreme 40 counterparts. Although, there would have been plenty of French cursing on board when leading the last race, they went the wrong way going from hero to zero… Welcome to the world of Extreme Sailing!

Extreme Sailing Series Europe

Extreme 40s: ECOVER Still on Podium after a Tough Day on the Water

by Lucy Harwood

The battle for the overall lead continues Oman Sail The Wave, Muscat had another solid performance Monday and continue to dominate the leaderboard. But the fight for second and third remains close between Ecover, Oman Sail Masirah and Groupe Edmond Rothschild with just one point separating the three teams.

Conditions were variable throughout the day, with anything from 5 to 12 knots. Ecover had mixed results, but are still holding onto second overall and continue to fight for the lead. Groupe Edmond Rothschild who had been struggling earlier in the week, found their form, with the French team showing their expertise in the lighter, fluky breeze. They have moved from the middle of the fleet to third overall after three days of racing.

Talking after racing today, skipper Mike Golding commented, “We had an average long distance race this morning. I think we just had a bad start, and ultimately we got the tide wrong. We were the wrong side of the starting line, and because it was a reaching race we didn’t have a chance to come back, it was just a procession. AS for this afternoon, I think today we felt a little out of sync onboard, things didn’t work quite as well as we have been used to over the last few days. I don’t think we are necessarily tired, although it’s been a long day for everyone out there. Usually we would be finishing the regatta now, but we still have another three days of racing to go here. So we just need to get back into the groove really, find our feet again and start being more consistent. It wasn’t the best day by recent standards, but we haven’t lost out that much in the overall scheme of things, so we’re still up there and in with a spot on the podium. The Wave have got a little further ahead but we’re going to keep pushing.”

Joining the crew onboard today was Barcelona Olympic gold and silver medallist, swimmer Katy Sexton. She stepped onboard Ecover as a 5th man for the first race of the day. "That was an amazing experience. I have never done anything like that before. It was awesome to see how the team work together and how quick the decisions need to be onboard. I felt like we had a little insight into another world out there, seeing them plan the tactics ahead of the start, and how intense the racing is, that was a unque experience that I would definitely recommend to anyone".

There is no morning race Tuesday, but racing kicks off at Egypt point from 1600 BST.

Standings after Day 3
1. The Wave, Muscat 127 pts
2. Ecover 112 pts
3. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 112 pts
4. Oman Sail Masirah 113 pts
5. Red Bull Extreme Sailing 106 pts
6. Groupama 87 pts
7. Team GAC Pindar 82 pts
8. The Ocean Racing Club 79 pts
9. Veolia Environnement 22 pts

ECOVER Sailing Team
Extreme Sailing Series Europe

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Extreme 40s: Video of Groupama 40's Crash in Cowes

Interview with Franck Cammas on what happened

by Caroline Muller

Q: Franck Cammas, what happened in race 11?
A: At a windward mark, as we were bearing away, Edmond de Rothschild Group, who were going behind us and finding it hard to bear away, hit our rudders in not such a violent manner. The two rudders and their mounts came away. All of a sudden Groupama 40 was uncontrollable and unable to be steered. She was heading straight for the sea wall. It was impossible to switch direction without the rudders. The crew was forced to jump into the water and Groupama 40 ploughed into the wall, her progress slightly slowed by the daggerboards as they rubbed up along the pebbles. The damage could have been a lot worse!

Q: How’s the crew?
A: We prevented the crew from coming to any harm! Everyone’s fine after this enforced dip!

Q: What about the damage aboard Groupama 40?
A: The rudder system and the mounts which hold them in position have to be replaced. One daggerboard was cut in two at the point of impact. The pole needs to be repaired. The bows, which hit the wall at full pelt, were also damaged.

Q: What are your chances of being able to sail tomorrow?
A: For the time being I don’t think our participation in tomorrow’s racing is under threat. We have a spare daggerboard. We have to find some parts for the rudder system. We’re going to check with the rest of the fleet as regards what they’re able to lend us.

Cammas - Groupama
Extreme Sailing Series Europe

Monday 2 August 2010

Extreme 40s: French Rivals Collide - Groupama Crew Leap to Safety

There was plenty of dramatic action on day two of the Extreme Sailing Series at Cowes Week today. With 18-20 knots of breeze, gusting over 20 at times, the nine teams were racing right on the edge, demanding 100% concentration and a constant rush of adrenalin for both the sailors and the spectators from the near capsizes, near misses and some not so near misses...

Groupama 40 crew retrieve their boat. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.

by Emily Caroe

In race 11 (the fourth inshore race of today), approaching the windward mark Yann Guichard’s Groupe Edmond de Rothschild hit Franck Cammas’ Groupama 40 wiping out both rudders, leaving Groupama with no steerage whatsoever. Groupama 40 were heading straight for the shore at speed and for safety the crew leapt into the water to avoid the impact of hitting the sea wall – deciding they would prefer getting wet than being thrown forward on the boat and potentially injuring themselves. Groupama 40 has sustained both rudder and daggerboard damage and it will be a long night for the shore team to get them back racing tomorrow. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild has lodged a protest which the jury will hear and award redress if relevant.

The Wave, Muscat, overtakes ECOVER. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

Paul Campbell-James, the youngest skipper on the circuit at just 28, ensured The Wave, Muscat finished inside the top four in today’s races including the morning offshore race and the five inshore races this afternoon held off Egypt Point. Two wins this afternoon, two seconds and two third places put them top of the Extreme Sailing Series leaderboard on 85 points: “We got good starts which is a big part of today and we were pushing really hard downwind when we needed to. Sometimes we were so close to capsizing but you have to push it hard at times and back off at others.”

Team GAC Pindar chasing the fleet. Image copyright Paul Wyeth/OC Events.

Yesterday, British skipper Mike Golding said he didn’t mind if they didn’t score any ‘bullets’ today, stating finishing inside the top four was more important. But his helm Leigh McMillan and the crew had other ideas – posting a win in the offshore race in the morning, then two further bullets in the penultimate and ultimate race of the day to finish in second place with 80 points. This kept the home crowd, who packed into the Extreme Bar and along the shoreline, happy as they cheered Golding’s crew all the way.

Franck Cammas in the water after abandoning ship. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.

All the skippers talk about the importance of consistency but yesterday’s leader Loick Peyron on Oman Sail Masirah found his top form elusive today, only posting a third place in the second race this afternoon which leaves Peyron’s team in third place overall with 74 points – 7 points ahead of Guichard’s team in 4th.

Groupama 40 hits the sea wall by Cowes. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images.

Double Olympic Gold Medalist Roman Hagara had another day of mixed fortunes – one race win and a second place in the penultimate race, keeps them in contention in the middle of the leaderboard in 6th place, five points behind Mitch Booth’s The Ocean Racing Club who did well in this morning’s offshore finishing in second. Another frustrating day for Roland Jourdain’s Veolia Environnement who had rudder problems before the start of the first race then had to drop the mainsail between races to sort out another problem. The team unpracticed in the art of Extreme 40 racing, put a reef in early and raced cautiously throughout the afternoon, although the 1989 Formula 40 World Champion demonstrated why he clinched that title with a couple of great starts.

Extreme Sailing Series Europe

Extreme 40s: ECOVER Keep Second Place After Day Two

ECOVER Sailing Team. Image copyright Mark Lloyd/Lloyd Images/ECOVER Sailing Team.

by Lucy Harwood

It’s been true crash and burn sailing today in the Solent during day two of the Extreme Sailing Series Cowes. Ecover put in a fantastic performance keeping them in contention as they remain second overall after two days of racing. They are now just six points shy of the current leaders Oman Sail The Wave, Muscat.

“It’s been a full on day for us all,” commented Ecover helm Leigh McMiIllan. “We had another great start getting a bullet with the morning race, which put us back in contention with the leaders, just one point from Oman Sail Masirah as we headed into racing this afternoon. Conditions were pretty punchy out there today, with 20 to 25 knots and big gusts. When you add the current to that you can see how things can get messy, its been full on out there".

The afternoon racing got underway at 1500, but the race committee made the call to take the fifth men off as conditions were two extreme for them to sail. Ecover had a tricky start in race 1, Groupama came in on port and tacked in front of Ecover, but it was too tight and Ecover and Groupama touched bows. It took a while for the rigging to untangle and they were forced to settle for last. "That cost us the race, which is really furstrating given our start which had us setup in second. We just had to focus and stay on track, we pulled back a few spots in the next race but we knew we had to step up our game. The Wave was having a cracking day, but we were still in touch with Masirah so we knew we were still in contention if we put in some solid top three performances for the end of the day," Skipper Mike Golding.

Ecover soon found their game and posted a second followed by two bullets, one of their best performances of the series to date. “We are really happy,” commented Ecover tactician Will Howden. “We worked hard today, it wasn’t easy. The race course threw up some challenging conditions, and the nature of this kind of racing means its intense and mistakes are punished hard. It was a case of team work, everyone has worked their socks off today so its great to it paying off on the leaderboard”.

Racing continues tomorrow at 1000 from the Royal Yacht Squadron line for the third long distance race of the event. Short course racing will once again take place at 1500 from Egypt Point.

Standings after Day 2
1. The Wave, Muscat 85 pts
2. Ecover 80 pts
3. Oman Sail Masirah 74 pts
4. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild 67 pts
5. The Ocean Racing Club 61 pts
6. Red Bull Extreme Sailing 56 pts
7. Groupama 50 pts
8. Team GAC Pindar 47 pts
9. Veolia Environnement 9 pt

ECOVER Sailing Team
Extreme Sailing Series Europe

DeVos Claims Melges 32 U.S. National Championship Title

Melges 32s racing in the US National Championships. Image copyright Joy Dunigan.

by Joy Dunigan

Ideal racing conditions just weren't meant to be on the final day of scheduled races at the 2010 Melges 32 U.S. National Championship, hosted by Little Traverse Yacht Club, although initially it did appear early on to be promising. "When we saw it wasn't filling in like we had hoped by 12:30 p.m., it was just silly to make those guys sit out there and wait." said PRO Bruce Golison. "So, we sent everyone ashore. There was no indication as to how long it would take for the breeze fill like we wanted it to, and with a two o'clock cut-off we were pretty limited."

Congratulations to Ryan DeVos (Harbor Springs, Mich.) on Volpe as he is the 2010 U.S. National Champion. DeVos, alongside of his father Dick, tactician Ed Baird, and crew consisting of Scott Nixon, Brian Janney, Mike Hill, Drew Weirda and Marty Kullman, he produced an impressive 4-2-2-1-1 result winning by a remarkable 16 points. "I would have loved to have got some more racing in." said DeVos in celebration of winning his very first major Melges 32 title. "With the conditions we saw this weekend, there was no easy way around. This was really tough racing."

2010 Melges 32 Key West Race Week Champion John Kilroy, Jr. (Los Angeles, Calif.) on Samba Pa Ti offered up some great competition yet settled for second place with Stu Bannatyne on tactics and Sam Rogers, Morgan Reeser, Eric Dorman, Kimberly Arnstson, Alan Nakanishi and Justin Smart as crew. John Porter (Winnetka, Ill.) on Full Throttle claimed third with the help of tactician Charlie McKee and team — Andy Burdick, Fritz Langzinger, Vincent Porter, Corbett Porter, Matthew Woodsworth and Kelly McKenna.

A very special thanks to all the teams that joined the class in Harbor Springs for this premiere event. Many traveled great distances, including Joe Woods (Torquay, UK) on Red, and all the way from New Zealand, Stefan Goldwater on Tirade. The championship would not have been the same without you!

Championships of this magnitude do not happen successfully without a team of dedicated individuals — within the class, yacht club and on the race committee working hard, almost around the clock to make everything smooth. The International Melges 32 Class Association wishes to recognize the great efforts of Tom Geisler (who put in plenty of overtime on the details), Melges Performance Sailboats, Laura Melges and team, Regatta Chair Rich Lehmann, Kathy Breightner and Donna Weber, most especially to Dick and Doug DeVos for the cordial hospitality.

Melges 32

Internationaux de France de Match Racing: BSR Foot It With the Best

Black Sheep Racing leading during the finals. Image copyright Bruno Bouvry/

by Reuben Corbett

First up on the schedule this morning were semi finals where both pairs resumed battle after concluding yesterday all tied up at one a piece. Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA) beat Alvaro Marinho (POR) 3-1 while we beat our intense rival Eugeniy Neugodnikov (RUS) 3-2 after again losing the first match of the day.

So the final was set, Pierre-Antoine Morvan otherwise known as PAM up against Black Sheep Racing. PAM was actually our training partner prior to the event so we knew each other fairly well come finals time. We managed to nail a couple of starts on the trot and again by racing smartly we held PAM off in each race to take a 2-0 lead. The following race intensified, after a split tack start we bounced tack for tack up the beat which included a penalty each for different offenses. PAM held a narrow lead from mark one to take the gun.

Race four, again there was a split tack start and we continually traded tacks up the beat until PAM put in a big luff on starboard close to the starboard lay line. Three lengths from the mark both boats came to a stand-still before PAM went for the mark. We were hot on his tail and threw everything at him for the remainder of the race but PAMs team did an exceptional job defending. Race five proved to be much the same as we traded tacks and gybes again but each split a little when the opportunity arose to make the most of the odd patch of breeze. PAM took it out 3-2 and won the Manu Minard Grade 1 Regatta. Congratulations to PAM and his team!

Black Sheep while disappointed they didn’t put the nail in the coffin are happy with their progress since embarking on this tour. Next up on the list for BSR is a regatta in Toronto Canada August 7th-8th closely followed by a mini tour of the States.

Black Sheep Racing
Internationaux de France de Match Racing/Trophée Manu Minard

Internationaux de France de Match Racing: Comeback Victory for Pierre Antoine Morvan!!

Morvan, the eventual winner, in action. Image copyright Bruno Bouvry/

by Caroline Beaufils (abbreviated in translation by SailRaceWin)

The final day of the competition started slowly this morning due to a lack of wind. Towards 1100, the wind started to get up, and it was possible to start the final races of the semi-finals and matches in the lower rankings. The duelling got underway quickly in brilliant sunshine, and a southwest wind of 12 knots. The spectators increased in number in the village and along the waterfront. The third place was disputed between the Portuguese Alvaro Marinho and the Russian Eugeniy Neugodnikov. The latter ultimately triumphed after intense jousting. But the Portuguese competitor was not downcast from the result of his first participation at the Internationaux de France in Pornichet. Notably, they defeated Mathieu Richard in the quarter finals, who ultimately finished 6th overall.

The final was very impressive - between the French sailor Pierre Antoine Morvan and the New Zealander Reuben Corbett. The suspense was thrilling. Support from the crowd certainly helped « PAM », and he managed to retrieve the situation after Corbett had a 2-0 lead.

Pierre Antoine, who was not necessarily expected on the podium due to his results in qualification, made a magnificent recovery after encouragement from his family and the crowd.

Congratulations to him and his team - who never lost hope.

The Internationaux de Match Racing championships were superb, once again.

Marinho vs. Neugodnikov in the petite finale. Image copyright Bruno Bouvry/

In French:

Le retour gagnant de Pierre Antoine Morvan !!

Cette dernière journée de compétition a commencé au ralenti ce matin faute de vent. Vers 11h le vent a commencé à monter permettant de lancer les dernières manches de demi-finale et les matchs de classement. Rapidement les duels se sont enchainés sous un soleil éclatant, et un vent de sud Ouest de 12 nœuds. Les spectateurs ont afflué en nombre sur le village et tout le long de la digue. La troisième place s’est disputée entre le portugais Alvaro Marinho et le russe Eugeniy Neugodnikov. C’est finalement ce dernier qui l’emporte au bout d’un duel intense. Mais le portugais n’a pas démérité pour sa première participation aux Internationaux de France à Pornichet. Il avait notamment sorti Mathieu Richard en quart de finale, qui lui termine 6ème au classement général.

La finale fut très impressionnante entre le français Pierre Antoine Morvan et le néozélandais Reuben Corbett. Le suspens était entier. Les encouragements de la foule ont surement aidé « PAM », puisqu’il a réussi à recoller au score après avoir été mené 2-0. Au bout de 2 matchs il égalise pour réussir à gagner le dernier et ainsi remporté la victoire !

Pierre Antoine, que l’on n’attendait pas forcément sur le podium au vue de ses résultats aux qualifications, a fait un retour magistral sous les applaudissements de sa famille et de ses fans.

Félicitation à lui et à son équipage qui n’a pas perdu espoir une seule fois, ni relâcher la cadence.

Ces internationaux de Match Racing ont été une nouvelle fois superbes et riches en rebondissements. Rien n’est jamais joué jusqu’au coup de corne final ! La preuve encore cette année.

Zoom sur le portugais Alvaro Marinho actuellement 19ème mondial, qui a été victorieux face à Mathieu Richard en ¼ de finale. (Focus on Alvaro Marinho)

Ø Pour votre première participation aux Internationaux de France à Pornichet vous réussissez à sortir Mathieu Richard en quart et ainsi accéder à la demi-finale, et terminer 4ème. Comment analysez-vous vos résultats ?

« Pour tout dire c’est notre meilleur résultat depuis 2 ans que l’on cours en match racing. On est vraiment très content de ce classement. Et cet évènement est une référence, un passage obligé pour progresser et marquer des points. On affronte les meilleurs mondiaux c’est idéal. Le team français est présent et c’est très enrichissant, ils sont vraiment doués. Quant à l’organisation elle est très bien faite, il y a rien à redire. C’est très professionnel. C’est un plaisir de venir sur ce genre d’épreuve parfaitement organisée.

Notre duel contre Mathieu Richard était génial. On était très motivé à donner le meilleur de nous et ça a payé malgré la difficulté ».

Ø Décrivez nous votre duel contre Mathieu Richard. Y a-t-il d’autres adversaires qui vont impressionner ?« Je pense qu’au départ on était au même niveau et sur le même rythme. Ensuite dans la course j’ai commencé à être plus rapide que lui et a tenir la distance. En terme de tactique on était parfaitement accordé et précis. Du coup ça a fait la différence, pas de beaucoup mais ça a suffit.

Le team français en général nous impressionne. Ils sont forts et on apprend beaucoup à leur côté. »

Ø Quels sont vos prochains objectifs, de classement et de course ? Comptez-vous revenir l’année prochaine à Pornichet ?

« Je navigue également en 470 série olympique, alors j’ai un programme assez chargé. J’ai une épreuve fin aout en Turquie. Sinon en match racing, je vais reprendre en septembre jusqu’à la fin de l’année. Notre objectif est de rentrer dans les 15 premiers mondiaux. Et grâce à ce classement aujourd’hui, on a toute nos chances d’y arriver.

"Oui bien sur, on reviendra ! Cette épreuve est incontournable. »

Internationaux de France de Match Racing/Trophée Manu Minard

VOR: Ian Walker Appointed to Lead Abu Dhabi Project

Abu Dhabi interest in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Sophie Luther

Two-time Olympic medallist, Ian Walker of Great Britain, has taken the helm as skipper for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race title pursuit, as the emirate's newest sporting outfit readies for the 'Everest of Sailing'.

Appointed by the team's backer, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), Walker will lead an 11-strong crew hoping to stake its claim in one of the world’s toughest, most extreme sporting challenges.

ADTA, which was behind the emirate's successful bid to become a Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 host city, believes Walker’s appointment is a major coup for Abu Dhabi’s inaugural title tilt.

"Ian is the lynchpin in the dream team we are determined to secure,” explained Ahmed Hussein, Deputy Director General, ADTA. “His high profile sends a signal of the seriousness of our ambitions in a sport which will help us build international awareness of our long maritime pedigree and exceptional coastline and surrounding waters.”

Ian Walker. Image copyright Dave Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

As design consultant on ADTA’s planned, specially designed Volvo Open 70, Walker will be out to capitalise on years of experience to guide the outfit through nine-months of intense, head-to-head sailing over 39,000 nautical miles comprising four of the world’s most treacherous oceans.

"The Volvo Ocean Race is mentally and physically exhausting. The whole project is quite daunting, but it is easier to comprehend having done the race before. I have huge respect for the yachts and the race and we will be as prepared as we possibly can be," said Walker, one of the world's leading helmsmen and tacticians.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to build a winning team both on and off the water. It is a huge challenge, yet we are confident we will compete for top honours. We have a unique opportunity to do something special with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

“The emirate’s participation is a huge step forward for sailing. Abu Dhabi is a great venue and the conditions are perfect for a sailing destination. This will certainly encourage other sailing events and championships to come to this part of the world and is already inspiring the local population to get fully behind sailing. The entire emirate, including nationals, is eager to embrace the race and get behind its team. This is going to be a fantastic journey.”

ADTA and Walker, who lives in Southampton, UK, are also currently in the final stages of appointing the team’s other crew members, and are committed to including a UAE national in the sporting team and another two on the shore team.

"I think it is crucial to have the right mix of youth and experience and I also like the idea of an internationally-represented crew. Obviously, you need the right mix of skills such as helming, trimming, bowmen, sailmaking, rigging and engineering, yet it is just as important to select people who will work well as a team. That is what we are aiming for with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing," said the 40-year-old graduate of Cambridge University – one of the UK’s ‘Ivy League’ institutions.

Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race commented, “We are very pleased to have Ian Walker back in our race and believe he will be an excellent skipper and leader for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. The host city is an excellent venue for sailing and hopefully this project will encourage and ignite passion for sailing within the region.”

Walker, a father of two, was the skipper and sailing manager of the 2002 British America's Cup Team. He has accrued a wealth of sailing experience in a two-decade long career, which includes coaching the 2004 British Olympic Gold medal winning women's keelboat sailing team, winning the TP52 Global Championship, and leading the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race outfit, Green Dragon.

Plans are being progressed with Abu Dhabi stakeholders for the UAE capital’s New Year 2012 hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race, when it sails into the sport’s record books as the first Middle East stopover in the event’s 37-year history.

Volvo Ocean Race